On Sunday, February 18, Portsmouth and the Seacoast woke up to six inches of freshly fallen snow. That didn’t stop a team of 12 middle and high schoolers and a small group of adult volunteers from showing up for our most recent Service Sunday. We met at Gather (formerly the Seacoast Family Food Pantry) where we were met by Deb Anthony, their director, who told us about the organization and how they are serving the Seacoast Community.
“Gather (formerly Seacoast Family Food Pantry) serves those in our community experiencing hunger. We provide nutritious food through innovative distribution programs and our Pantry Market. We offer nutrition education and recipes for healthy living. In addition, we collaborate with community partners to address the root causes of hunger.” – from the Gather website
Gather serves thousands of people in the Seacoast area, from Kittery to Seabrook, with a commitment to fresh and nutritious food. Their programs include a food pantry open every day during the week, Meals4Kids that provides meals to children during school breaks, Farm Shares 4 Families that offers access to fresh local produce from a local farm, and Meals 4 Seniors that delivers prepared meals to local seniors.
St. John’s youth group spent church sorting food, cleaning the walk in refrigerator, and helping to organize the space. It was incredible to see how much the kids were able to get done. In the end, we sorted hundreds of pounds of food, checking expiration dates and putting food donations into the proper categories.
Some of our intrepid boys even braved the smell of something left untended in the fridge for a bit too long and did some much needed mopping.
This Service Sunday is a part of a growing connection between St. John’s and Gather. Gather will soon begin to use the kitchen at St. John’s on Mondays to prepare meals for their Meals 4 Seniors program. The crew at Common Table is going to assist that effort by sending extra meals from the Thursday lunch to Gather. We’re going to find other ways to enrich this partnership in the coming months.
In the meantime, you can help contribute to Gather by volunteering or donating food. You can find more info about getting involved right here. If you’re interested in donating food, these are the items they need: